••• Sunday, August 05, 2007

Midnight At the Oasis 

Put Your Camels to Bed.

You Think You Know. But You Have No Idea.
For the past 25+ years, I've been operating under the belief that "Heart of Glass" was my all-time favorite Blondie song. Two weeks ago, after driving around town listening to a newly found Once More Into the Bleach, I made a startling discovery: My favorite Blondie song is actually "French Kissing in the U.S.A."

I know.
I felt like such a fool.

I started knitting about 18 years ago. A friend first taught me how to knit a washcloth. Then she taught me how to read a pattern. And then I taught myself cables, intarsia and bobbles, in about a month's time. When I made my first sweater and came to the "picking up stitches" part, I asked my friend what to do and she said "do just what it says, pick up and knit." So that's what I did.

Fast forward--->A week ago, there abouts.

I was finished with the body of Sahara and was ready for the sleeves, starting with the picking up of the stitches, using the method started 18 years ago, as follows:
1) With right side facing, and knitting needle in hand, stab blindly into the fabric.

2) Take a sip of blush wine, being careful not to choke on ice cube.

3) Continue stabbing motion until a strand of yarn shows up on the needle, appearing as a new stitch.

4) Chug whatever is left of the wine-turned-to-water, from the glass.

5) Knit the recently stabbed stitch.

6) Sneak a shot of now-ex-husband's Wild Turkey.

7) Repeat steps 1-6, replacing shots of Wild Turkey for Blush Wine, sans ice, until required number of stitches have been picked up.
I think you get the idea.

The above steps, sans booze, applied to the armholes of Sahara, did not go well. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that the resulting product looked to be quite unwell. Queasy, even.

Of course, I kept knitting anyway. And blamed it on the yarn. Yeah, the yarn. It was, um, moody. Yeah. And all it needed was a good strong knit, including a well excecuted series of short rows.


First, I blamed it on the short rows. But in my heart of hearts, I knew I did those right. This time.

So I googled.

And I learned.

And I wondered: How is it that I'm the last to know that when instructed to "pick up and knit" stitches,I am not to pick up an already created stitch, but instead create a new one, a la hooking the yarn through the tiny girl parts of the stitch? And that there is no actual knitting in "pick up and knit?"

Being a bit lazy stubborn in nature, I pretended this ill-be-picked up-thing was going to work out, up until the sleeve was almost done. Then I did a try-on. Then I ripped.

Then I "hooked" up some new stitches, all good and proper.

And then I somehow put the stitch markers for the short rows in the wrong places. This happened when we were in the car, heading north.

Since I had already successfully executed the short rows in the recently executed sleeve,this mistake was easily blamed on my husband, who was driving the car. On purpose. I know.

So I ripped back to the pick up line and started over.
This time I thought the sleeve was going well.
But when it was done, and I tried it on, I saw that it was poufy.

In the directions for the short rows, you are instructed to go 2 stitches past the last wrap, then wrap and turn. Initially I was a bit confused as to whether or not I should go 2 stitches and wrap the third or wrap the second stitch. In looking at previous short row instructions in the pattern, I strongly wondered if they were telling me to wrap and turn the second stitch. So I did.

Given the resulting pouf, I wondered if I had wondered wrong.

After a quick email exchange with Wendy ::Who has been very busy with photo shoots for her new book, so I was very surprised at and appreciative of her almost immediate response. She must get up very early.:: I found out that I actually did the short rows properly and she suggested that I do more decreases.

Which I did. And it was better, but still poufy. Even my husband said it was poufy, and he usually tells me that I am too critical of my knitting.

And now I'm torn.

I really wanted the capped sleeves. But all of a sudden, I'm way over this little desert voyage on the Sahara.

I'm tired of knitting it.
I'm tired of ripping it.
I'm tired of thinking about it.
I'm tired of writing about it.

I got sand in my 'gina and my camel toes are begging for a cool dip.

Even though I don't exactly know what went wrong ::Maybe I have small armpits?::, if I were to try the capped sleeve again, I might reduce the frequency of the short row wraps, and maybe wrap on the third stitch after all. Or cast on for a smaller size sleeve. In a look around blogland, I saw that some finished Saharas had the pouf and some didn't. So yeah, that was helpful.

On the other hand, er, arm, a completed, sleeveless Sahara is just a rip, two pick-up lines and a lacey border away.

And it doesn't help that I'm being taunted by this:

The yarn store near the cottage had 25% off all Rowan. So you know, I had to. ::I also learned that Rowan was bought out by Coats and Clark. I know. What would a couple of 200 year-old explorers want with a yarn company?::

I'm kind of tired of cardigans, so I think I'll do that pattern as a pullover. And yes, I realize there is a stockinette pullover with that trim in the pattern book, but I want the texture of the cardie, in a pullover.

All of a sudden I can't stand the sound of my typing voice. So I'm off for a cuppa and a rippa and to enjoy the sights and sounds of this:

Umm..that would be rain.
That's okay. I didn't recognize it at first, either.

p.s. Thanks for the props on the glasses. I wore reading glasses from 4th grade through my thirties. My closeup vision is now perfect, while my distance is deteriorating a little every year. Suckage.

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